The 2014 NFL draft concludes one of the offseason's most important phases for the New York Jets. It's a good time for ranking the team's top moves. When doing so, it's important to consider these moves in context. Each move addressed a need—some completely, others in part. Each move also represented a chance to think outside the box, to approach old problems in new ways.
This list includes three draft picks and four free-agent signings. The rankings consider each move within the contexts of "Need," "Solution" and "Implications."
Need represents the position or function the team must improve. Each move in this list addresses a need through the draft or free agency. The grades are as follows:
- Significant: The team must address this need before the 2014 season begins to be competitive.
- Moderate: This need may become more or less important depending on outside circumstances, such as recovery from injury or legal matters.
- Minimal: The team didn't have to address this need in 2014.
Solution represents the move the team made to address the need. Solutions receive these grades:
- Outstanding: The solution completely fills the need with a player or players who will make an immediate impact that will continue beyond 2014.
Adequate: The following solutions earn this grade:
- The player is a long-term answer for a position that fills a larger need in part.
- The player is a short-term solution who will need replacement after 2014.
- The player is a long-term project who will eventually fill the need. Such players are most appropriate for Minimal needs.
- Incomplete: The solution may fill the need, but the details are unclear.
The player or players may be outstanding, but the need is beyond their ability to fill without help. The team may ask the player to fill a role outside of his established skill set or be more durable than he has been in the past. If you think a move's ranking is too low, a grade of incomplete is probably why.
Implications measure the solution's innovation. Will the solution plug in to the system as fans know it, or does it represent a new approach?
- Evolutionary: The solution represents a change in how the team approaches an aspect of the game. Such a move doesn't have to set a new NFL trend. The context is the team's prior practices.
- Significant: The solution is an upgrade to the team's 2013 capabilities. His presence will improve team performance but not result in innovation.
- Insurance: This move is the team's attempt to protect itself from a worst-case scenario, such as poor performance by a player in a key position.
- Minimal: The solution will have little to no impact on the team's 2014 performance. This may be by design, as in the case of a long-term project.
Each grade's score appears to its left. A move with three grades of "1" is more significant than a move with three grades of "3." You should see the most significant move at the end of this list. The "Implications" grade is the first tiebreaker followed by "Need" and "Solution." If all scores are identical, the higher rank goes to the player with the superior body of work.
This system's flaw is that it downgrades significant signings because they don't solve a problem by themselves. The fact is that single moves don't solve every problem, no matter how good the player is. Such situations reflect more on the scale of the need than on the ability of the player.
At least this system should provoke discussion. How would you rank the Jets' most significant postseason moves? Which moves would you add or subtract?
Before you get a chance to answer, check out a page of unranked moves with an impact on the 2014 Jets.